Dallas Stars vs Minnesota Wild Preview: Lineups, Storylines, Game Time, and How to Watch
Wild @ Stars begins just after 7:00pm CST tonight on Fox Sports Southwest.
Since Christmas Day the Dallas Stars have lost five of their last eight games, including a three-game losing streak in the New York Metro Area over the weekend, but weary legs backed by Kari Lehtonen stopped the streak against the Jets in a 2-1 win.
"You can see our energy wasn't the highest as it has been," Tyler Seguin told media Thursday night after the shootout victory. "I looked up in the third period and we only had 15 shots. Playing on home ice we're usually buzzing a lot more. Fatigue could be there a little bit."
They'll finally get a break and a chance to re-charge coming up when they'll enjoy one of their longer sabbaticals on the year with a five day hiatus stretching into late next week- But first they'll have to face a critical Central opponent in the Minnesota Wild.
Jordie Benn and Ales Hemsky will once again sit this one out as they near returns and Radek Faksa and Patrik Nemeth will continue to fill in, or Jamie Oleksiak.
We'll see which lines Lindy Ruff chooses to deploy after starting the game Thursday with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin on different trios, but they were reunited in the third period as the Stars were desperate for scoring chances.
Kari Lehtonen was fantastic against Winnipeg and figures to start again, but no one would be shocked if they wanted Antti Niemi to get back in ahead of such an extended break.
The Wild out-shot the Stars 35-34 at home on December 21st in a 6-3 loss to our heroes. Dallas scored a power play goal on two chances and notably Minnesota did not receive a single power play opportunity.
That was one of their last 10 in which they have surrendered an average of 32 shots per night, going 4-4-2 in that stretch.
They've kept pace in the Central and kept themselves in striking distance despite a floundering power play that's scored just once in their last ten games spanning 20 opportunities- Just two per game.
Before their 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers they had allowed just eight total goals in their previous five games (2, 2, 2, 1, 1)- And some of those against impressive oppositions in the hot Florida Panthers, the Lightning, St. Louis Blues, and as the Stars know them, the high scoring Columbus Blue Jackets.
Mikko Koivu paces them with 32 points, Ryan Suter on defense in their second leading point-getter with 27, and Thomas Vanek and Zach Parise are close behind with 26 each for third on the team.
The Star Tribune reports that rookie defenseman Mike Reilly could possibly make his NHL debut tonight in Dallas, and that Devan Dubnyk will be the starter in net.
Their lineup, or something approximate-
Niklas Backstrom/Darcy Kuemper
From Stars PR:
STARS ANNOUNCE FIVE-YEAR EXTENSION FOR GM JIM NILL
Dallas Stars Owner and Governor Tom Gaglardi and President, Chief Executive Officer and Alternate Governor Jim Lites today announced that the club has signed General Manager Jim Nill to a five-year contract extension. The extension will run through the 2022-23 regular season. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nill, 57, is in his third season with the Stars as he was named the team's 11th general manager, and sixth general manager since moving to Dallas, on April 29, 2013. The team currently leads the Western Conference with 62 points on the season with a record of 29-10-4, which marks the best start in franchise history after 43 games played. In his two plus seasons on the job, the club has amassed a record of 110-72-25 and earned a playoff berth in 2013-14. To read the full press release, please click here.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
The Dallas Stars take on the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night in the fourth of five meetings this season against their Central Division foe. The Stars have won all three games this season (3-0-0), including a 3-2 overtime victory on Nov. 14 in the last contest of the season series played at American Airlines Center. Dallas has won three games in a season against the Wild for the first time since the 2011-12 season, when the club went 3-1-0 vs. the Wild. In the most recent meeting on Dec. 21 at Xcel Energy Center, the Stars rallied from a two-goal deficit to defeat Minnesota, 6-3, behind multi-point outings from Tyler Seguin (1-1=2) and Vernon Fiddler (2-0=2). Stars captain Jamie Benn leads all Stars players with six points (2-4=6) in three games this season against the Wild, with John Klingberg (2-3=5) and Seguin (2-3=5) each recording five points. The two clubs meet for the fifth and final time of the 2015-16 campaign on Feb. 9 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.